What Were the Roles of Boys in Ancient Greece?

In ancient Greece, the roles of boys were deeply rooted in society and culture. From a young age, boys were expected to fulfill certain duties and responsibilities that shaped their lives and prepared them for adulthood. Let’s delve into the various roles that boys held in ancient Greece.

The Role of Education:

Education played a pivotal role in the lives of boys in ancient Greece. Boys received education primarily at home until the age of 6 or 7, after which they attended formal schools called “Grammatistes” or “Didaskalos.” These schools focused on teaching subjects like reading, writing, arithmetic, music, physical education, and literature.

During their schooling years, boys were taught by male teachers who emphasized discipline and obedience. They were encouraged to ask questions and engage in intellectual debates. However, physical fitness was also given significant importance as it was believed to develop character and prepare them for military service.

Military Training:

Military training was an integral part of a boy’s life in ancient Greece. At around the age of 18, most boys underwent rigorous military training known as “Agoge.” This training aimed to prepare them for future military service and instill values such as bravery, endurance, discipline, and loyalty.

Under the guidance of experienced warriors called “Eiren,” boys learned essential skills like combat techniques, weapon handling, teamwork, and survival tactics. Military training also involved physical exercises like running races and wrestling to build strength and agility.

Social Roles:

Boys in ancient Greece had specific social roles within their families and communities. They were expected to respect their elders and obey their fathers’ authority. Boys were also responsible for carrying out household chores such as fetching water from wells or assisting with farming tasks.

As they grew older, boys were involved in public affairs and attended community gatherings and meetings. They were encouraged to participate in debates, express their opinions, and learn the art of public speaking.

Religious Roles:

Religion played a significant role in ancient Greek society, and boys had their share of religious responsibilities. They actively participated in religious rituals and ceremonies held in honor of various deities. Boys were expected to learn the intricacies of performing rituals correctly and understanding the significance behind them.

Furthermore, boys had roles during festivals like carrying sacred objects or performing specific tasks to ensure the smooth execution of religious events. These experiences helped boys develop a sense of devotion and spiritual connection within their community.


The roles of boys in ancient Greece encompassed education, military training, social responsibilities, and religious duties. From an early age, boys were taught discipline, physical fitness, critical thinking skills, and respect for authority. This comprehensive upbringing aimed to shape them into responsible citizens who would contribute positively to their families and society at large.